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Eastern State Penn take 2, a set on Flickr.

I am a very lucky lady! Sunday I had the opportunity to tour the hospital ward of Eastern State Penitentiary. This part of ESP is only open to the public (sporting hard hats) for a couple days just every few years. The plan was I was going to rent a lens, an external flash and have a weekend chock full o’ creepiness. Well all didn’t go as plan but I still managed to get to ESP.

Unfortunately the lens rental was a bust. The online store I tried to rent from wanted to charge $50 to ship in addition to the rental costs. After being told by my local Calumet that they would need to put the replacement cost on my credit card (I don’t keep credit cards with high limits), I went to rent online only to discover the lens that they were expecting back in time was kept on an extension and unavailable. Bummer. So I was going to make the best of my inadequate pop up flash and my 17 – 55 kit lens. My plan B was to bring my tripod and use that to compensate for a shitty lens. It worked as well as I expected, but not as I had hoped.

So a grab a buddy and head over to ESP. We went right back to the area they were giving the hard hat tours. Each tour was 20 minutes long and if you weren’t there at your scheduled reservation an eager body was there to take your place. Luckily we were there early but when I went to sign in the official sign in guy told me I couldn’t use my tipod on this tour because of cramped space. I was welcome to bring it with me; I just couldn’t put the tripod on the ground. Ha. Yea, ok.

So I let the group pass me as we file in – a little stream of blue hard hats. I’m the last one in and I guess being waaaaay in the back I happened to not hear the portion of the tour guide’s spiel where she mentioned we couldn’t go in any of the rooms. Oopsie. As she leads the group into the main hallway, me and another couple of people who were there to take pics like me quickly made our way into each room. I *gasp* hooked my camera up to the tripod and got some quick and dirty shots in each room. I tried the flash – it looked like shit, tried to steady the camera enough without getting a blurry shot – no luck. So I was on a recon style mission getting the best possible pics without getting thrown out. Man, I was sure coveting some of that equipment other were sporting. Soon…

Fortunately for me the group ahead of us were taking their time in the operating room – the highlight of the tour so we were a good 5 minutes behind, just hanging out in the main hall. Well, THEY were hanging out in the main hall, I was going back and getting better shots with the extra time. Once again I was last to get into the last portion of the tour. I couldn’t use the tripod in the operating rooms because the guide was rushing us through to make up for that 5 minutes (I’m sure at that point she was pretty annoyed with the scores of assholes with cameras that didn’t follow the rules) so I literally got 2 shots in the first room and two in the operating room with my shitty flash.

After the tour I went back through and got some shots of things I missed the first 2 times I went there: Al Capone’s cell, the rest of the kitty statues, the synagogue, and the gates leading to the hospital ward with the cross in the middle. I hope you enjoy these. They’re not the quality I wanted, but I’m sure it will not be the last time I’m there.

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